Confessions of a nail polish addict: When I take off my beloved OPI Lincoln Park After Dark, my nails are a hot stained mess. Acetone remover can literally peel paint off the walls and put hair on my chest, but it ain't doin' nothin' for my nails after they've been baked with a dark polish for a couple of months.
Something tells me you've faced the same problem. Before we resign ourselves to a lifetime of acrylics, there are a couple of tricks to get our poor stained nails all bright and shiny again.
In preparation for our at-home hacks, let's talk about some other things that can because yellow, discolored nails.
Most commonly, yellow nails are caused by our beloved nail polish. The darker polishes especially take a toll on your nails, leaving them stained with leftover dyes. The easiest way to prevent this from happening is by always using a clear base coat. Not only does a base coat increase the life of your nail polish, but it also seals and protects the nail plates from staining. We love Salon Manicure Smooth and Strong Base Coat (Sally Hansen, $9).
Holly L. Schippers, CND Education Ambassador and Empower Nail Art Lead Educator at FingerNailFixer®, agrees that the best anti-yellowing tip by far is prevention, saying, "Using a base coat with polishes that need them and the daily application of a high-quality nail oil containing jojoba or squalene will protect the nails from staining."
The next biggest cause of yellow nails is the tar and nicotine from cigarettes. If you are a smoker, the best way to stop the yellowing of your nails is to stop smoking! OK, we know quitting is difficult, but we can't change the facts.
If none of these shoes fit, there could be a medical factor at play, meaning that you may need to get yourself to a dermatologist posthaste. RealSelf Contributor Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains, "Fungal infection is one of the most common causes of yellow nails. Other symptoms include flaking and peeling of the nail, along with an unpleasant odor. As the infection worsens, the nail bed could retract, causing nails to thicken and crumble." He adds, "A change in the color of your nails can also be a sign of something more serious. Thyroid, liver and lung diseases can all cause yellowing of the nails, as well as nutritional deficiencies like low iron or zinc."
While there are over-the-counter treatments for yellow nails caused by fungal infection, Dr. Schlessinger recommends visiting your dermatologist first of all. Prescriptions are far more effective than OTC, he says, "Plus, by seeing a medical professional, you’ll get a proper diagnosis and the best treatment for your needs."
Besides ditching the cigs and using a base coat, keep these tricks up your sleeve:
Updated by Sarah Long on 8/4/2017.
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